Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation continues to support organisations who are assisting women leaving family violence situations to re-establish and rebuild their lives.
A Scaling-up Innovation grant to WEstjustice has enabled the organisation to partner with McAuley Community Services for Women to integrate its financial counselling and legal support services across Melbourne’s western suburbs.
WEstjustice works with clients to resolve and prevent the escalation of legal and financial problems arising out of family violence.
WEstjustice Chief Executive Officer Denis Nelthorpe said that women who leave family violence have also experienced economic abuse and are unable to work through their financial issues on their own.
“Our clients have incurred many unpaid bills in their name that have been accumulated by an ex-partner. We have so many cases whereby an ex-partner has deliberately and maliciously incurred fines or not paid the rent or utility bills so that it is difficult for a woman to leave the relationship.
“WEstjustice advocates on behalf of our clients to have these unpaid bills and fines waived which then provides an opportunity for them to start their lives again free from their ex-partner’s debt.”
WEstjustice has also been working extensively with business sectors to bring about effective system change and lasting reforms so that women who have been economically abused are not penalised.
“We are working with regulators, peak associations and corporate companies such as debt collectors and real estate agencies, by providing training and education to improve their understanding and knowledge of family violence so that they can respond proactively and flexibly by implementing appropriate systems.
“With the support of Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation, we are substantially improving our clients’ financial security and recovery which prevents them entering a cycle of poverty and homelessness.”